Dates: October 28-29, 2017.
Objectives: Sunset Cone. Grassy Cone. Silent Cone.
Stats: Listed below.
Partners: Deez and Lego Master.
Gear notes: Should have worn thick pants to aid in not thrashing my legs in the sage brush.
Links: Idaho: A Climbing Guide - Sunset Cone, Grassy Cone and Silent Cone. A previous trip to Craters - Big Cinder Butte.
Day 1: Sunset Cone. 500ft gain and 1 mile round trip.
There had been a perfect stretch of fall weather and we had to take advantage of it. We decided against anything in the high mountains since we were taking the youngster out with us. Craters of the Moon has plenty to see and can be a very good choice this time of year. After driving the Blue Bug Smasher to the camp ground and getting set up, we parked at a pullout on the south side of the highway and started up the sage brush covered slopes and headed for the top of Sunset Cone. It didn't take too long to reach the top.
|Looking toward Arco.|
|Big Southern Butte.|
Next up was Grassy Cone. 350ft and less than a mile round trip. We parked at the pullout nearest to the peak on the south side of the highway. I was hoping the name Grassy Cone would come from its slopes being covered with grass and not sage brush, but I was wrong. Neither of these peaks were particularly fun, but they were easy minus the sage brush, and the boxes are now checked.
|Sunset Cone from Grassy Cone.|
The sun was beginning to set so that was the end of hiking for the first day. We hung out in camp and enjoyed watching the stars come out before we settled in.
Day 2: Silent Cone. 900ft and 3 miles round trip. We had a bit more time to use on day 2 so we picked a bit more of a challenge and we didn't have to start super early which was nice. We hiked the North Crater Trail for the interesting views and terrain. The Geologist in me wants to ramble on about it, but I wont. You're welcome. I do highly recommend this trail though.
The shortest way would be to start from the Spatter Cones if you wanted to skip one of the best trails at Craters of the Moon.
|Starting out on the North Crater Trail.|
|The North Crater Lava Flow and Grassy Cone.|
|North Crater Trail.|
There are many excellent geological examples along this trail and the hiking is not too difficult.
We hiked with great care up the Silent Cone.
The terrain isn't difficult but there is plenty of sage brush to weave though.
|Big Cinder Butte.|
The views were fantastic from the top. We were treated to warm temps, clear skies and very light wind. We could see from Carey to Arco no problemo, and all the lava in between.
|North Crater (not a ranked peak).|
We almost forgot where we were. Duh!
|Hiking back along the North Crater Trail.|
|Looking out over the North Crater Lava Flow.|